Purdue professors working to move in person classes online

Professors at Purdue are rolling with the punches as they try to restructure their classes to online formats, but that is more easily said than done for many.

Posted: Mar 11, 2020 10:22 PM
Updated: Mar 13, 2020 12:17 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Professors at Purdue are rolling with the punches as they try to restructure their classes to online formats, but that is more easily said than done for many.

"I wasn't surprised by this," said Dr. Colin William, a Clinical Professor of Psychology.

After schools like Stanford, Ohio State and Indiana University made the call, many professors at Purdue were expecting the same thing.

"The administration has been asking us for a little over a week to think about this possibility," said Dr. Jessica Sturm, an Associate Professor of French and Applied Linguistics.

Sturm teaches a French food culture class that is supposed to take a trip to France during spring break.

"We go to go to a school in Roanne France which is near Lyon," she said. "It's a cooking school, so they spend the week cooking and taking a wine class and a cheese class and all these wonderful things."

But that paradise of a spring break not happening. As we previously reported, Purdue canceled all spring break abroad trips on March 5th, so the language department was already working towards the possibility of all on campus classes being suspended Sturm's classes are small and she says face-to-face interaction is key.

"With language it's crucial," she said. "Obviously they are learning the skill of speaking and communicating in a language and in the classroom they are learning the skill why they are practicing it."

Sturm said she is concerned about students getting distracted while at home, saying it's a lot easier to switch to Netflix or run an errand when taking online courses from the comfort of your home compared to the structure of sitting in a classroom.

Dr. William teaches large psychology lectures with sometimes hundreds of students. He said the in-person teaching is also important for his classes.

"I think there is something lost when you don't get face to face interaction," he said. "The ability to look at their reaction, to read whether they are comprehending something, the ability to ask them questions around the room."

William and Sturm say they will be recording lectures and moving assignments to Purdue's online class forum, Blackboard.

"It's obviously not what I would wish would happen within any semester but I think it's the right choice, I think it's the necessary choice, it's the safe choice," said William.

"They are making the best out of a really bad situation," said Sturm.

As of now, this suspension is indefinite. An email sent out to students on Tuesday said this has the potential to extend for the rest of the semester.

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